Lazar continues to impress Senators

When it comes to the development of Curtis Lazar, the Senators are looking beyond his impressive offensive numbers.

Lazar continues to impress Senators
Curtis Lazar of the Edmonton Oil Kings, circles in the offensive zone followed by Sam Ruopp of the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League at Rexall Place in Edmonton. Shaughn Butts/Edmonton Journal

When it comes to the development of Curtis Lazar, the Senators are looking beyond his impressive offensive numbers.

Lazar, the Senators’ first-round selection at last June’s NHL Draft, has scored 17 goals and 14 assists in 23 games since being sent back to the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League, earning himself a spot in the Canadian world junior team’s evaluation camp.

Senators assistant general manager Tim Murray says that’s all fine and dandy, but there’s so much more to the Lazar package.

“It’s the intangibles,” said Murray. “How hard he is to play against? His commitment to the game? His commitment to getting better? We love the numbers. We expect the numbers. But it’s the intangibles that we like better.”

Lazar, who has played primarily as a centre with Edmonton, was used as both a centre and right winger during Senators rookie camp and could play in either spot as a big-leaguer. The Senators only used him in one pre-season game due to a shoulder injury, but Murray says regardless of where Lazar ends up and in what role, he’ll be invaluable.

“He’s a two-way player. I have to assume that for (national junior coach) Brent Sutter, he’s his type of player. He’s a dependable player, the type of player coaches continually put out on the ice because of their commitment to the game.”

While Lazar appears to be a lock for Canada’s team, Murray also has hopes that Quentin Shore — selected in the sixth round (168th overall) in the summer — could land a key role for the United States on its own world junior team.

Murray says Shore’s hockey sense is “off the charts” and that he can make plays offensively.

In order to advance to the big leagues, Shore will need to improve his strength and get faster, according to Murray.

Swedish goaltender Marcus Hogberg, drafted in the third round in 2013 and currently playing for Mora in the Swedish Elite League, is also believed to be in the running to play for Sweden at the tournament.

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